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To the Mistmyr Falls

by Giampaolo Agosta and Andrea Ciceri from Threshold Magazine issue 17

A Loktal’s Vault introductory adventure

[Image: title page]


To the Mistmyr Falls” is the second installment in the Loktal’s Vault series, which will explore the megadungeon under the Five Shires. It is an introduction of sorts, since the adventure itself takes place in the Five Shires, and ends with the PCs discovering the entrance to the megadungeon.

This adventure picks up the story after the events narrated in “The Disappearance of Jebediah Gallidox”, appeared in the issue #16 of Threshold Magazine. In that adventure, a group of newbie heroes (most likely hin Yallaren) went on to search for the missing sage, Jebediah Gallidox, who had been kidnapped by a group of dwarves, the Broken Shields. These dwarves aim at recovering the lost treasures and secrets of Loktal Ironshield, ancient dwarven lord of the Glittering Kingdom. His vault is lost somewhere in the mountains of Highshire, and the Broken Shields picked up a trail near the village of Longflask. However, while they explored the tomb of one of Loktal’s captains, they were overwhelmed by the dwellers of that dungeon, and killed or forced to flee, leaving behind a petrified Jebediah. This allows the PCs to recover a map which may lead to Loktal’s Vault.

In this chapter, the PCs travel from Longflask to the Mistmyr Falls, where the entrance of the mines above Loktal’s Vault is located. Unfortunately, the Broken Shields and their agents are hot on the PCs’ heels, and will cause them a number of problems.

The adventure is written for 1st level BECMI D&D PCs (who have completed only “The Disappearance of Jebediah Gallidox” before tackling this adventure), assuming a party that is richer in Halfling characters than the usual. If a Magic User and/or Cleric are present, it is likely that some encounters will be harder, and other easier, than expected. The DM may compensate by increasing the number of low-level humanoid and undead opponents in one encounter per area.

It is intended that PCs reach level 2 before entering Loktal’s Vault. To this end, the adventure provides about 1400 XP in monsters, and the same amount in story and goal bonuses. On the other hand, it is purposefully written with less treasure than it is usual, in order to keep the PCs from being able to hire large numbers of helpers for the dungeon delve. For a more traditional approach, multiply all treasure values by 20. Otherwise, keep the stated treasure value, but assign to the PCs 20 times as much experience as the gold pieces value of the recovered treasure. In both cases, the adventure should award a total of 6000 to 7000 XP.

Furthermore, in Aercruth and in the mountains it is always possible to add more encounters to ensure that the PCs collect the necessary experience before delving into Loktal’s Vault. We provide two possible side-trek suggestions from the pages of Dungeon Magazine, but many other short adventures may be used instead. If your party has already a few hundred XPs under their belt, you can safely skip these side-treks.

Overview of the overland journey

[Image: Overland Map]

The overland map shows the route from Longflask to the Mistmyr Falls.

From Longflask, it is possible to reach Waymeet in a few hours, crossing the Wardle in the afternoon, if one leaves in the morning, and stopping at an inn at some distance from the crossing. The trip to Aergruth is long about 40 miles, including the crossing of river Wardle, and last an overall 2 days.

From there, the characters will need to explore the Cruth Mountains to find the entrance of Loktal’s Vault, and will likely visit the Mistmyr Falls and the site of the Battle of Blackflame. This part of the trip is around 8 miles in wooded hills (which takes one day), followed by a search in an area around 16 miles across. It takes one more day to reach the Battle of Blackflame site, and a further two to reach the Mistmyr Falls.

[Table: Random Encounters]

In total, the journey lasts a minimum of six days, although the characters may be delayed for several reasons, such as events and side quests, or simply the need to recover from wounds or make purchases. Furthermore, exploration of the area between the Battle of Blackflame site and the Mistmyr Falls requires one full day per 8-miles hex.

The Journey to Mistmyr Falls

Ambush at Waymeet

The Broken Shields agents in Longflask have alerted their superiors about the PCs’ interference. They send three of their people to ambush the PCs in an attempt to recover any information they might have obtained from the dwarven tomb near Longflask.

Gori Dwalifwarf Morskyr (D1, hp 7, AC 5, Str +1, Wis -1, Cha +2): this dwarf woman is armed with shield and mace (dmg 1d6+1), and wears scale mail. Gori is the leader of this Broken Shields team of troubleshooters.

Nalum Bombedwarf Baltorrad (D1, hp 4, AC 7, Str +1, Dex -1): this tall dwarf is armed with a pole axe (dmg 1d10+1) and a silver dagger (dmg 1d4) and wears scale mail.

Kona Bombifwarf Gilkon (D1, hp 4, AC 6, Str +1, Int +1, Wis -1): this dwarf woman wields a heavy crossbow (dmg 1d8) and a mace (dmg 1d6+1) and wears scale mail. She also has a silver dagger with her.

The three dwarves set their ambush taking position behind rocks and trees. Gori takes point, and tackles the PCs from the front, stepping out of their hiding place when they pass near her. Nalum is positioned on the other side of the road, behind a tree. He will try to attack the PCs from behind. Meanwhile, Kona is positioned behind a boulder within close range for her heavy crossbow.

The PCs can detect the ambush with an appropriate skill roll (e.g., Alertness or Danger Sense), or with a Wisdom roll at ½ score.

Award 100 XP to the PCs for surviving the ambush. If they capture a dwarf, the PCs can learn about the Broken Shield motives to some extent: the dwarf knows that a clan in Rockhome is interested in some ruins in the Five Shires, which contain relics of interest for the dwarves. The captured dwarf is only a low-level agent, and is not privy to much more information. Each dwarf has 2d8 gold coins and 3d4 silver coins, minted in Rockhome.

Murder at Wayside Inn

A major storm builds up while the PCs cross the Wardle, so they reach the Wayside Inn as the rain becomes intense. Combined with the twilight, this should make further progress all but impossible, and the welcoming light of the Wayside Inn all the more attractive. The Inn is as well appointed as one would expect from an establishment managed by Hin. Ceilings are somewhat higher than in typical Hin buildings, to allow humans and elves to fit - although with some difficulty for tall humans.

[Image: The Wayside Inn]

While the PCs stop at the Inn, two plots occur. First, two hin agents of the Broken Shields will try to hamper them. At the minimum, they will spy on them and report to their Dwarven employers, but, given opportunity, they will steal from or otherwise sabotage the PCs. Second, a shapechanger is hiding in the Wayside Inn, disguised as a customer, and will murder one of the other guests or staff members to eat them.

The Wayside Inn Staff

Osclinn, daughter of Jotho Omblestaff (H2, N): a slight but though (Con 16) middle-aged halfling woman, “Linn” is uncharacteristically lazy for a Shire hin. She inherited the Wayside Inn from her parents - the Omblestaff have owned it for generations - but takes only a minimal hand in the actual running, leaving it to her husband Olthiir and their employee, Horl.

Olthiir, son of Logthim Longwinkle (H2, N): a physically fit adult (Str 15, Con 15, Cha 13), Olthiir is a shrewd business hin. He is much more active than his wife, Linn, in the management of the Wayside Inn.

Horlmyr, son of Bundymyr Seaeyes (H1, L): a sheep-pox scarred adult hin, with a bit of a limp (Dex 8, Cha 7), Horl is a reliable and honest worker. He does all sorts of jobs at the inn.

The Guests

Lobdyalassa, daughter of Horlaltor Darkeyes (H1, C): known as “Lassa the Rascal” , this unattractive (Cha 8) hin woman is a former pirate. She’s known as a “bad apple” type for deserting her crew to maximize her profit. She is now in the pocket of the Broken Shields, and she is supposed to bodyguard their main agent, Bunsar Boldnose. For this reason, she poses as his wife.

Bunsar, son of Horlthiir Boldnose (H1, C): Bunsy is the type of hin who would do anything for quick money. In this case, it means he is taking the Broken Shields’ money to spy on travellers passing at the Wayside Inn. He may have not been the best choice, as he is not the most perceptive hin of the lot (Wis 8). However, he is cautious and an able liar (Deceive 11). His chubby appearance hides a stout physique (Con 13). Bunsy poses as a well-to-do hin traveling at leisure towards the hill country.

Lobagh, daughter of Ultho Bristlebur (H1, L): a young and attractive hin girl with an athletic physique (Cha 15, Str 13), Lobbie is as adorable as she is dumb (Int 7, Wis 8). She is quite a flirt, but a trusty soul bordering on the naive. She believes all hin to be epitomes of virtue, and will easily fall into any trap. She is travelling to Aercruth to visit a cousin with her friend Zara.

Zaressa, daughter of Shanmyr Alehill (H1, L): commonly called Zara, this young hin woman is rather attractive (Cha 13), with a thin and supple body (Str 7, Dex 13). She knows she is not very brilliant (Int 7) and has learnt from past mistakes (Wis 14), so she is not extremely cautious. She is also surprisingly courageous for one with her minute physique, and will jump to the defense of people in danger, especially her friend Lobbie.

The Assassin

Unfortunately, a Wererat1 (3* HD, C) hides among the guests. He claims to be Jenaldymar, son of Ogermyr Woodgrott, or Dymar to his friends. He is completely unaware of the plots of Bunsy and Lassa, and merely plans to make a quick snack out of the other guests. He plans to use the bad weather to cover his tracks after he makes his escape. During the night, Dymar kills one of the other people present in the Inn. The default option is for him to kill Lobbie, after luring her out of her room by claiming to have fallen in love with her. Otherwise, he might meet Horl as he performs some late night task such as cleaning the saloon. Finally, if one of the PCs happens to be around alone during the night, he might be the target instead.

However, something goes wrong. Either Zara looks for her friend, or Maerly, Olthiir’s dog, sniffs Dymar’s presence and wakes everybody with his baying, or Horl sees the murder or accidentally finds the body. Dymar makes his escape, however, and cannot be immediately identified, since he is in rat form.

From this point, it is up to the PCs to help Olthiir in the hunt for the murderer. They may try to wait for the Krondar to arrive, in which case Dymar will try to escape, trusting the rain to cover his tracks. Or they may investigate, which may lead them to discover that Bunsy and Lassa are not who they claim to be (they have dwarven gold and some coded messages in their room). Finally, while the investigation is ongoing, Bunsy and Lassa may try to kill off one of the PCs, and let the blame fall on Dymar.

When the PCs leave the Inn, assess their success as follows:


Aercruth is the last village before the wilderness. The characters can recover from wounds and injuries here, or restock as needed. By default, nothing happens here, although the DM may want to place an unrelated side quest. In this case, we recommend Redcap's Rampage” from Dungeon Magazine #54.

Wooded Hills

During the crossing of the woods north of Aercruth, two encounters happen. First, the PCs find the cave of a crone of chaos. This happen near mid-day, if the PCs left Aercruth in the morning. Then, they meet a family of wandering gnome tinkers, with whom they can camp during the night.

[Image: The Wooded Hills north of Aercruth]

A Cave in the Woods

In this event, the PCs find tracks leading to a cave in the woods. An easy (+4 skill rating bonus) Tracking skill roll will identify some boot prints compatible with those of a dwarf.

The cave is actually the lair of a crone of chaos, a dangerous, cannibalistic female humanoid. A party of Broken Shields agents has fallen into the hands of the crone.

This is a small but complete dungeon. It can also be used independently from the main adventure. It is quite dangerous, as it contains several relatively high level monsters. However, the PCs have the opportunity to gain the help of the imprisoned dwarves.

[Image: Map of the Cave in the Woods]

  1. The cavern appears empty, but tracks of heavy boots and animal paws are evident. A Tracking skill roll will identify three separate sets of recent boot tracks, and two set of barefoot tracks.

  2. Imelda, a crone of chaos (HD 6*, C; hp 26; 500 XP), dwells in this cave. She appears as a beautiful woman (of the same species of the PC with the highest charisma), and will attempt to persuade the PCs that she’s a kidnapped noblewoman (or a relative of a wealthy hin from Northshire, or any other similar story, as appropriate to her apparent race). She claims to have been imprisoned here by an evil wizard. She is apparently chained to the wall, but the chains are illusory. If the PCs do not believe her, she attacks with her Daggers of Sorcery2, all the while claiming the attack to be a magical trap. If the PCs defeat Imelda, they find a potion of healing, a potion of animal control, 140 sp, and a silver necklace worth 20 gp.

  3. Two normal wolves (HD 2+2, hp 10, 11; 50 XP) guard the entrance to the inner caves. They scent the PCs in room 1, and prepare to attack. Like all the animals in the caves, they are controlled by the crone of chaos in area 3. They will not attack the male PC with the highest charisma score.

  4. The entrance to this cavern is blocked by a set of iron bars. A lever, when pulled, lowers two of the bars, providing access to the cavern. Inside, four humanoids are tied to walls with iron chains. There are two dwarves, a human, and a halfling. The two dwarves are Broken Shields agents, Bombin Korarwarf Norrest (D1, L; hp 6; Str 13, Dex 7) and Doror Dorfurwarf Globuhr (D1, L; hp 4, current hp 1; Str 13); the human is an Ylari mercenary sorcerer, Aziz bin Jibril (MU 1, N; hp 2, current hp 1; Int 16, Wis 6); and the halfling is a guide hired by the dwarves, Bellomyr, son of Horlalsar Dustyboots (H1, N; hp 3; Wis 7). Each of them can tell the PCs a different story to explain how they ended up in this cell:

    1. The dwarves’ story; there is a witch in the cave, she captured them and charmed the magic user. The dwarves’ story is true. They were captured after Aziz cast a sleep spell on them.

    2. The magic user’s story; there is another prisoner, a beautiful noblewoman, the dwarves are in league with an evil wizard. Aziz is not charmed, but was attacked by the crone’s daggers of sorcery and knocked out after he stopped Bombir and Doror from attacking Imelda.

    3. The halfling’s story; there is no wizard and no witch - the halfling suffers from denial gone awry after losing his sanity - the crone mated with his brother Mulmyr, then devoured him while he was watching.

  5. Two oil beetles (HD 2*, hp 9, 8; 50 XP) patrol this room. They attack any interloper. They are controlled by the crone in area 2, but too unintelligent to follow more complex orders.

  6. This cavern is empty.

  7. A bear trap is set in this room. Anyone passing here without accurately checking the floor has a 25% chance of triggering the trap. A ST vs Paralysis allows a character to jump to the side before the trap catches a leg. If a PC falls into the trap, it inflicts 1d4 hp of damage. On a 4, the leg of the victim is broken, and the victim suffers a penalty of 50% to movement rate and -2 to AC. The penalty is removed by a cure light wounds. The victim is also trapped (regardless of damage), and it takes a successful Strength check to free them.

  8. This cavern is empty.

  9. An old old giant weasel (HD 4, AC 8, hp 16; 100 XP) guards this room. This animal is semi-tame and loyal to the crone in area 2, but will ferociously attack the PCs until one of them is killed. Then, it will flee to area 7 or 12, only to return if Imelda in area 2 is attacked.

  10. A pit trap is hidden under the refuse that litters the floor. The pit trap is 10’ deep, and inflicts 1d6 hp of damage to any PC that falls into it (ST vs. Paralysis to avoid).

  11. This cavern is empty, except from the decaying body of a halfling (it was once Mulmyr Dustyboots, the brother of Bellomyr from area 4). The corpse has been largely devoured by some wild animal. A First Aid or Natural Lore skill roll will identify the bites as inflicted by a humanoid mouth with sharp, carnivorous teeth, before the onset of decay.

  12. The cave is filled with discarded equipment. Searching through it will yield 120 silver coins and 30 gold coins. However, it takes one hour to fully search it. A Wisdom check will reduce this time to 1 turn.

  13. The Broken Shields’ equipment has been dumped in this dirty cave. The PCs will find two suits of chain mail armour (dwarf-sized), a battle axe, a mace, a round shield, four daggers, a hand axe, and two short swords. There is also a broken short bow and a quiver with 6 arrows.

If the PCs survive the encounter with the crone of chaos, award them a total of 100 XP. Furthermore, if they save the Broken Shields, award them another 200 XP.

The Lodebottom Gnomes

This family of gnomes, led by the patriarch Dirlin (Gnome 4, L) are wandering tinkers. They travel in a small wagon drawn by a pair of ponies. They have a wide range of goods for sale, including thieves’ tools, and can repair weapons and armor. They also have a small range of special items. Interesting objects for the adventurers include two strange contraptions, vaguely tube-like and about one yard in length. These items act as one-use missile weapons (same range as a heavy crossbow), can be used untrained, and inflict 2d4+1 hp if they hit (attack roll at +1, blades and points are silver, so they can hit lycanthropes). After being used, they cannot be reloaded. The gnomes ask 100 gp for each of these items.

The gnomes have also met the Broken Shields. They are friendly towards dwarves, and will hardly believe any negative comment, attributing it to old disagreements between hin and dwarves, which they believe should be left behind. Thus, they will not reveal anything about the Broken Shields unless the PCs trick them, or provide overwhelming proof of the dwarves’ wrongdoings. In that case, the gnomes know the same information as the Broken Shields agents at Waymeet.

Finally, Tekira, Dirlin’s daughter, is a priestess of Garal Glitterlode (Gnome 3/Shaman 2, L). She will help the PCs with Cure Light Wounds spells, if they are friendly. Besides Dirlin and Tekira, there are three other gnomes (all Normal Monsters).

Battle of Blackflame

Eventually the characters will reach the site where the Battle of the Blackflame took place. Although it has been a long time since that event, the place seems desolate and barren, in sharp contrast to the rich flora that distinguishes the Five Shires. The southern part of the area is the most pleasant one: there are large green and grassy spaces, dotted here and there by some leafy trees. There is also a stream that provides fresh water to anyone (and also some tenches to feed any hungry angler). The northern part of the area is the one most marked by the battle: the soil becomes bare and void of vegetation, the trees become bare, black and twisted. The more you go north, inside a gorge that creeps into the mountains (where the orcs were slain), the more it becomes clear that in this place a large amount of magic energy was used. For example, you can find a shrub of wild roses whose branches, leaves, and flowers are constantly consumed by an invisible fire, but then come back intact, as if time was rewound. This is clearly a residual effect of Blackflame but only the halflings, more aware of the mysteries of the clan, can recognise it.

In any case the PC can try to learn something more of this place:

An unexpected encounter

During the night the characters will be visited by an unlikely creature. Is a tiny Leprechaun3, dressed in green and with a small lantern, which will try to be noticed by one of the characters awake for the watch turn (precisely for this reason the characters do not have to do any kind of test to notice it, he is in fact looking to be seen). Once someone has noticed it, the Leprechaun, O’ Brann (male Leprechaun 12, 26 HP, AC 5, armed with a tiny wooden staff, which inflicts 1d2 hit points of damage4) will show up, present himself and tell them something like this:

[Image: A Leprechaun]

Hullo travelers! My name is O’Brann and I live in these areas. I'm here to ask for your help! Please accept my proposal! A few travellers passed here and nobody wanted to listen to me.
To the north there is a valley inhabited by spirits: they are soldiers of an ancient battle who have no peace and can’t find a way to the afterlife. One of these in particular don’t makes me sleep overnight! Is a halfling dressed in mail armour, with a very bad neck wound, crying near a large boulder at about half the valley. If you can find out what his problem is, and help him, I will finally get some rest and I can get back to work. I'm a great shoemaker and I can repay you with a gem and a pair of magic boots. How about it? Will you help a poor little fella in need of sleep?

At this point, the characters may decide to give a hand to O’Brann or to continue exploring the area on their own.

In search of the wounded halfling

[Encounter: 9 Skeletons, XP 90]

If the characters head to the valley they will find a different atmosphere than the one they encountered if they had already visited the valley. This time they are immersed in a twilight atmosphere, a rather dense fog has dropped down on the area and lets them only glimpse the indistinct silhouettes of the elements of the landscape. Every now and then, without warning, the noise of a battle is heard: swords hitting shields, screams, shooted arrows and shouted orders (which the PCs can understand if they know the Orc language). From time to time, out of the corner of their eyes, they can see shadows that fight between themselves in the midst of dark explosions. At some point out of this fog, nine skeletons approach the group. Some are quite tall with fangs in place of the teeth. Others are little more than babies. They are obviously the remains of the soldiers who fought in this place three centuries ago.

As soon as the group has got rid of the skeletons, they will hear in the distance a weeping cry. If they follow the noise they will arrive at a large boulder (maybe a projectile of an orcish siege weapon) on which a translucent figure of an halfling is seated. Just as O'Brann had described it, this halfling is wearing a mail armor, probably of elven origin; on the neck has a large wound, probably caused by a heavy cutting weapon. It looks incredibly sad and disconsolate.

The group has finally met Bleth Nar, the last of Clan Nar commanders, who has returned from death as Lesser Haunt5. For 300 years he has failed to find the well-deserved eternal peace as he feels guilty of losing the clan standard, one of the few memorabilia that reminds of the existence and the actions of the Clan Nar. Bleth Nar will try to persuade the characters to help him and, if they are successful, he promises to reveal to them a hidden compartment where orcs had packed some war trophies. If the group asks about where the banner might be and his appearance, Bleth Nar is going to describe it (Three Talons of Brown on a White Field), and he will say that it is probably with the orc that killed him, a big warchief without an eye and with a scar that crosses his face.

In search of the banner

To find the warchief, the group must head towards the heart of the valley, where the most bloody clashes between halflings and greenskins took place. Along the way, before reaching their destination, the PCs will have to defeat two groups of skeletons: the first one is composed by five skeletons of large orcs and bugbears. To represent this, use the following modified stats:

Large Skeleton (5)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 1+1 (hp: 9)
Attacks: 1 (Bonus THAC0 +1)
Damage: Battle Axe (1d8+1)
Save As: F1 Bonus +1
XP Value: 20.

The second encounter will be composed of three large skeletons and six smaller skeletons representing instead goblins armed with bows.

Small Skeleton (6)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1-1 (hp 5)
Attacks: 1 (Malus THAC0 -1)
Damage: Small Bow (1d6 -1)
Save As: F1 -1
XP Value: 5.

Marukk, The Halflings Cruncher

Eventually, the characters will arrive near a rather large square. The magical mist that surrounds the valley let appear remaining images of the ancient battle: big orcish warmachines, halfling and greenskin fights, magic spells and magic energies unleashed without remorse. In the middle of this chaos a large spectral figure screams orders with a thundering voice. He’s Marukk, the warchief that killed Bleth Nar, a large ogre without an eye and with a scar that crosses his face. He is surrounded by its own “honour guard” of four Uncorporeal Orcs.

Marukk, Ghost Ogre Warchief
Uncorporeal6 3, Chaotic
Statistics: HD 3+4****, hp 16, AC 5, XP Value: 150.
Attacks: 1 touch or gaze, damage 1d6 or paralysis; also, see poisonous aura under special abilities.
Defenses: need silver weapons to hit.
Special abilities: poisonous presence (poisons water and food within 15’, kills small plants and insects); paralyzing gaze (1d4 rounds), immune to charm and sleep spells, incorporeal, materialize (takes 1 round), enter Ethereal 1/day.
Summoned Uncorporeal Orcs: Uncorporeal NM, HD 1*, AC 6, attack 1 touch, damage 1d6, undead immunities, incorporeal, materialize (takes 2 rounds), enter Ethereal 1/day, XP Value: 15 each.


Mistmyr Falls

[Image: The Mistmyr Falls]

For each 8-miles hex explored (or for each day of exploration), roll a random encounter. Exploration requires appropriate skill rolls to avoid getting lost in the mountains and having to backtrack to a previous point. Use the Navigation skill for this purpose:

In any case, award a total of 100 XP for each explored hex.

The Mountain Lion Den

This small cave is the dwelling of dangerous predators. However, the PCs are lost and take it for the mine entrance.

[Image: Map of the Mountain Lion Den]

  1. A difficult (half score) Danger Sense or Tracking roll alerts them that the cave is not what they are looking for. Depending on the skill employed, the PCs may notice the tracks of a great cat, or sense the lingering scent of the puma.

  2. This cavern is empty, but the ceiling is rather low. All PCs taller than 1 meter will have difficulty moving here: dwarves need to stoop, and elves and humans have to crawl.

  3. The ceiling is higher in this area, and all PCs can stand. There is nothing here, except for discarded bones. A Natural Lore skill roll will identify carnivorous teeth marks on the bones of a mountain goat.

  4. Two mountain lions (HD 3+2, AC 6; 14 hp, 15 hp; 100 XP) wait for the PCs. They have good sense of smell, so they are not surprised.

  5. Four mountain lion cubs (HD 1+2, AC 9; hp 6, 7; dmg 1/1/1d2; 60 XP) are found here. They attempt to flee, but will fight if cornered.

  6. This cave leads to an exit, which is rather difficult to navigate due to the very low ceiling. Hin have to stoop, and bulky PCs will need to make a successful Dexterity or Escape check to avoid remaining stuck between ceiling and floor.

  7. This cave is empty, except for the corpse of a hin explorer. The corpse has been fully devoured by the mountain lions, leaving only a broken shortbow, an empty quiver, a dirty, long, jagged dagger of excellent manufacture (+1 to hit in melee), a pouch with 3 gold pieces, 12 silver pieces and 8 copper pieces, and a locket with the portrait of a hin girl and the name Silagh (value: 5 gp).

The Broken Shields Attack

When the PCs finally find the mine entrance at Mistmyr Falls, the Broken Shields fall upon them with their remaining forces. Depending on how successful the PCs have been in past encounters, the dwarves can be present in force, or they may be a relatively easy encounter.

Balur “Rockcutter” Naicwarf Filblys
Dwarf Cleric 2, hp 12, AC 2
Str 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Dex 8, Con 13, Cha 8

Balur is the leader of the Broken Shield team sent to track down Lotkal’s Vault. He is a good combatant, and is valued by his Broken Shield superiors because of his loyalty and dedication, but his leadership is hampered by his abrasive personality. Furthermore, an accident in his youth limits his mobility. Balur fights equally well with the hand axe and warhammer, and keeps a throwing hammer ready. He wears plate mail and a round shield. Contrary to his team, he rides a stout pony, which he will use to flee in case of defeat.

Any surviving agent from the previous encounter will have joined Balur for this attack. Furthermore, he has three more agents with him (D1, AC 5, hp 4, 5, and 6). Note that Aziz bin Jibril will not fight the PCs if they saved him. Furthermore, neither Bombin nor Doror will break any promise they might have made to the PCs, in order to get their help in Imelda’s lair.

Each dwarf has 3d4 gold coins and 4d6 silver coins, minted in Rockhome.

Conclusion: Into the Mines

The PCs reach a cave entrance protected by a palisade, over which hangs a ragged, dirty-yellow banner showing a bloody stag’s head over crossed scimitars. The gate is open, and the palisade is manned only by two spear-bearing gnolls (8, 9 hp; total XP value 40), neither of whom seems to pay much attention to what is going on outside - one of them is actually peering inside the cave. The deafening noise of the nearby Mistmyr Falls makes it so that the gnolls will not hear the PCs unless they go out of their way to attract attention.

[Image: Into the Mines]

If the PCs overcome the gnolls, they can have a closer look at the entrance. While the rock is chipped and smoothed by age, rain, wind, and goblinoids, the passage has been worked by dwarves. Any dwarf can recognize this with a Mining or Engineering skill roll, or with the “detect new constructions” dwarven special ability.

Before the PCs can actually enter the cave, a flight of 20 earth fundamentals will swoop on them from the upper reaches of the entrance. There are enough fundamentals to drive the PCs away, but they will not attack fleeing PCs. At least half of the fundamentals disperse through the woods after forcing the PCs away from the entrance, so they can be met as part of random encounters on the mountains in groups of 1d4+2, replacing hawks (entry 5 in the random encounter table) until they are wiped out. The remaining fundamentals will roost on the ceiling of the entrance, like so many rocky bats.

For surviving up to this point, and finding the entrance to the mines, the PCs receive a story bonus of 125 XP each.

The adventure will continue with the many levels of Loktal’s Vault in future issues of Threshold Magazine!


Jim Bambra, Phil Gallagher, Graeme Morris, AC9 Creature Catalogue, TSR 1986.

Ed Greenwood, The Five Shires, Gazetteer 8, TSR 1988.

John Nephew, DRM2 Creature Catalog, TSR 1993

Stephen J. Smith, The Witch of Windcrag, Dungeon Magazine #51, volume IX, number 3, TSR Jan/Feb 1995.

Christopher Perkins, Redcap’s Rampage, Dungeon Magazine #54, volume IX, number 6, TSR Jul/Aug 1995.

Giampaolo Agosta, John Calvin, and Francesco Defferrari, The Undead of Elegy Island, Threshold Magazine issue #13, 2016.

Andrea Ciceri, The Disappearance of Jebediah Gallidox, Threshold Magazine issue #16, 2017.


[Table: Random Encounters]

Roll 1d10

Highshire Roads

Wooded Hills



Goblins (1d4+1)

Goblins (1d4+2)

Goblins (1d4+2)


Rat, Giant (1d4+2)

Rat, Giant (1d4+1)

Rat, Giant (1d4+1)


Orcs (1d4)

Orcs (1d4)

Orcs (1d4+1)


Bats (4d4)

Bats (4d4)

Bear, Black (1)


Hawk (1d2)

Centipede, Giant (1d3)

Hawk (1d2)


Snake (1d2)

Snake (1d2)

Snake (1d2)


Ferrets, Giant (1d2)

Skunk (1d3)

Mountain Lion (1)


Beetles, Giant Fire (1d2)

Spider, Giant Hunting (1d2)

Toad, Rock (1)


Wolves (1d2)

Wolves (1d2)

Bugbear (1)


NPC Party (1d4+1 hin)

Wood Imps (1d3+1)

Gnoll (1d2)


[Image: title page]

Albert Bierstadt, A rustic mill, circa 1855, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

[Image: Overland Map]

G. Agosta, Overland map of Highshire, 2017. Used by permission of the author. Made with The GIMP.

[Image: Map of the Cave in the Woods]

Cave map n. 6, randomly generated with the Cave Generator by G. Agosta

[Image: A Leprechaun]

Jean-noël Lafargue, Leprechaun, Free Art License/Licence Art Libre via Wikimedia Commons

[Image: Map of the Mountain Lion Den]

Cave map n. 46, randomly generated with the Cave Generator by G. Agosta

[Image: The Wayside Inn]

Václav Malý, Motiv aus dem Böhmischen Paradies, 1903, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

[Image: The Wooded Hills north of Aercruth]

Abraham Govaerts, Wooded landscape with peasants crossing the ford, circa 1619 Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

[Image: The Mistmyr Falls]

Anton Radl, Waldlandschaft mit Wasserfall, 1825, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

[Image: Into the Mines]

William McAusland, used by permission.

Use an appropriate stock art.

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Column 3: This column contains the URL of the image source.

1This lesser wererat’s humanoid form looks resembles a halfling. Since lesser wererats are not infected humans, but infected giant rats taking a humanoid form, this does not violate the constraint of lycanthropy being fatal to demi-humans. However, if a halfling-looking wererat idea does not go well with your assumptions on the game world, an immature Doppleganger (4-4* HD) built using the D&D Master Set rules for weaker monsters could be used instead.

2Daggers of Sorcery are a spell-like ability of the Crones of Chaos. They disappear when the Crone is defeated.

3We employ the Leprechaun PC race from Tall Tales of the Wee Folk, but obviously you can use the equivalent for any rules system you are using.

4O’Brann has memorised the following spells: Charm Person, Locate Object, Sleep, Warp Wood; Entangle, Fairy Slumber, Obscure, Mirror Image; Fly, Charm Monster, Haste, Summon Animals; Confusion, Dimension Door, Enchanted Weapon, Polymorph Other; Neutralize Poison, Summon Object, Create Normal Animals, Animate Objects. O’Brann has the Bargaining, Dancing, Craft (Shoemaking), Craft(Leatherworking), Storytelling, Knowledge (Geography of the Five Shires), and speaks, besides the local language, also the elven language (albeit an obscure dialect), and a rather obsolete dialect of Traladaran.

5See DMR2 Creature Catalog p. 52 or AC9 Creature Catalogue p. 86.

6See “Undead of Elegy Island” in Threshold Magazine #13. Note that, to represent the fact that this Uncorporeal was originally an Ogre, we have chosen to give it 4 extra hit points.

7Rules Cyclopedia, p. 241.